Loss of Memory Is Only Temporary: Stories (Art of the Story) (Paperback)

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Loss of Memory Is Only Temporary: Stories (Art of the Story) By Johanna Kaplan, Francine Prose (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Johanna Kaplan, Francine Prose (Introduction by)
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Staff Reviews

Something about fall makes me feel like reading fiction set in New York City. Maybe so I can live vicariously through the cold weather. This collection focuses mainly on the Jewish community of New York City in the 1960's and is worth it for the first story alone. The women are amazing and the dialogue incredilbly funny. Johanna Kaplan is my new favorite.

— From Elizabeth


A funny, fresh, and brilliantly insightful collection of stories from a beloved writer, with a new introduction by Francine Prose

Johanna Kaplan’s beautifully written stories first burst on the literary scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today they have retained all of their depth, surprise, and humor—their simultaneously scathing, hilarious, and compassionate insight into character and behavior. From Miriam, home from school with the measles, to Louise, the daughter of a family that fled Vienna for the Dominican Republic, to Naomi, a young psychiatrist, her heroines are fierce, tender, funny, and cuttingly smart.

At once specific to a particular period, place, and milieu—mainly, Jewish New York in the decades after World War II—Kaplan’s stories resonate with universal significance. In this new collection, which includes both early and later stories, unforgettably vivid characters are captured in all of their forceful presence and singularity, their foolishness and their wisdom, their venality and their nobility, while, hovering in the background, the inexorable passage of time and the unending pull of memory render silent judgment.

In its pitch-perfect command of dialogue matched with interwoven subtleties of insight and feeling and a masterful control of language, Loss of Memory Is Only Temporary is itself a timeless collection of the finest work by one of the most extraordinary talents of our age. 

About the Author

Johanna Kaplan is the author of Other People’s Lives, a collection of stories, and O My America!, a novel. Her books were finalists for the National Book Award, the American Book Award, and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and she has twice received the National Jewish Book Award for fiction, as well as the Edward Lewis Wallant Award and the Kenneth B. Smilen/Present Tense Literary Award. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Commentary, Harper’s Magazine, Moment, the New York Times Book Review, and City Journal, and her stories have been widely anthologized. Her essay “Tales of My Great-Grandfathers” appears in the Schocken anthology Who We Are: On Being (and Not Being) a Jewish American Writer. A native New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan and for many years worked as a teacher of emotionally disturbed children at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is currently at work on a novel with the tentative title Forbidden.

Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction including, the highly acclaimed Mister Monkey; the New York Times bestseller Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932; A Changed Man, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her works of nonfiction include the highly praised Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer, which has become a classic. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director’s Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College.

Praise For…

“Kaplan’s achieve­ment, which con­tin­ues to make her fic­tion rel­e­vant, is the cre­ation of ?'fero­cious­ly obser­vant,' embat­tled-yet-avid young women who pos­sess a com­pli­cat­ed con­scious­ness. With remark­able insight and empa­thy, Kaplan, like the char­ac­ters in these sto­ries, trou­bles the sur­faces of Jew­ish fam­i­ly life, reveal­ing an emo­tion­al land­scape marked by grief and trau­ma. In the process, Kaplan reawak­ens the dis­tinc­tive, and slow­ly dis­ap­pear­ing, Bronx voic­es of mid-twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry Jew­ish New York. Both old and new read­ers will rel­ish Kaplan’s bril­liant art­work of ventriloquism.”  — Jewish Book Council

“Kaplan’s incisive attention to detail matches her gift for conveying the mysterious mesh of physicality and consciousness, while her characters' predicaments are at once ordinary and profound, specific yet universal in their illumination of inheritance, loss, exile, and generational divides.”  — Booklist

“A warm, funny, Jewish collection of stories featuring bold and nuanced Jewish women.”  — Alma

"This reissue seems likely to find [Kaplan] a new set of fans...Snarky young ladies are timeless. Plus, the dialogue is to die for." — Kirkus Reviews

“A joy of discovery attends the publication of Johanna Kaplan’s Loss of Memory is Only Temporary (Ecco)—a volume that gathers her cacophonous, mordantly funny stories from the 1960s and ‘70s (and includes the contents of her prized debut, Other People’s Lives)… It fizzes with the urbane energy of J.D. Salinger, Grace Paley, and Deborah Eisenberg—a restless delight.”  — Vogue

“Kaplan offers sly glimpses of human foibles and vulnerabilities. . . . Francine Prose’s preface aptly praises Kaplan’s 'paradoxically scathing and compassionate insight' into characters revealed in the midst of an uncertain present, poised between Old World and New. A rare gem, recovered.” — Library Journal (starred review)

“Readers…can learn much from Ms. Kaplan…This is fiction of complexity and depth.”
Wall Street Journal

“Laced with humor and high spirits…talent and wit everywhere play through [Kaplan's] writings.” — Commentary

“The reappearance of some of Johanna Kaplan’s brilliant short stories in Loss of Memory Is Only Temporary is cause for celebration…Hers is a distinctive voice with an uncannily pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, in any language and in any accent." — Hadassah Magazine

"One of the most remarkable features of Kaplan’s collection is the uncanny way that the past comes looping back around, the same characters and images recurring in different times and stories...The past, Kaplan shows us, infiltrates even the most private spaces of the imagination." — Jewish Review of Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063061637
ISBN-10: 0063061635
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: Art of the Story